I was born during blackberry season, and my summer memories are filled with recollections of dusty trails, mounds of thorny thickets, and fingers and lips stained red with the sticky juice of stolen berries.
In his poem “Blackberry-picking,” the great Irish poet Seamus Heaney describes going out “with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots / Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots” to gather the fruit. And he summons up the memory of the first blackberry tasted each year: “its flesh was sweet / Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it. . . .”
I have a passion for flavor and a reverence for ingredients, which I love to share. Thanks so much for visiting!
My life is filled with long walks, plentiful clean water, nutritious and delicious foods, activities that stimulate my brain, and socialization with neighbors, friends, and family. I keep stress low and joy high, and even though I am a night owl, get enough sleep every night. I eat small portions of foods made up of healthy fats and fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits, of mostly Mediterranean foods. On Saturdays I choose a small indulgence: a glass of wine, or perhaps some fresh pasta or a dessert. That’s it.
What I Eat
Half the plate—Colorful seasonal vegetables! Greens. A cauliflower pilaf. Summer tomatoes.
3 times a week: 3–6-ounce portions of wild-caught fish like salmon, halibut, sea bass, mackerel, cod, Bluefin tuna, yellowtail tuna, and seafood.
2 times a week: 3–6-ounce portions of pasture-raised chicken, duck, goose, or turkey
Once a week: 3–6-ounce portions of grass-fed beef or pastured pork.
Once a week: meatless—frittatas, quiches, lentil, split pea, or vegetable soups, etc.
Organic full fat Greek yogurt with berries
Cheeses: chèvre, Pecorino, feta, Romano, Parmesan, aged Kerrygold cheddar, Dry Jack, ricotta
Nuts and seeds
Unrefined cold-pressed oils: avocado, coconut, extra virgin olive oil and Kerrygold butter
Sugar and honey rarely
Desserts are usually fresh berries with hand-whipped cream or a square of very dark chocolate or slices of apple sautéed in a bit of butter with cinnamon
Bread rarely, usually only a slice of my husband’s wonderful sourdough bread!
No more than one glass of wine or Champagne a day…though usually it’s only once a week
No GMOs, additives, dangerous fats, processed foods, or fast foods
More information, here.
My interest in making food began when I was very little, by helping my mother and grandmother in their kitchens. I’d stand on a chair and stir chocolate chip cookie dough, making a glorious mess on counters and floor. My mother finally bought me a recipe book for children, trying, no doubt, to reign in my maniacal enthusiasm. The book started out with oatmeal (and a face made from raisins) and progressed to a cake. I think I completed it in about a week.
I spent summers with my grandparents in what was then a very rural Napa Valley. My grandmother had a huge garden with apple, pear, and walnut trees, chickens for eggs, bees for honey, herbs, vegetables, and berries. I learned how to can foods, make breads and pies, and tend a vegetable garden. And that vision of delicious self-sufficiency continues to be my dream.
During college, while working on a Fine Arts degree, I supported myself by working in restaurants during the summer, including the Silverado Country Club and what is then called Tra Vigne Ristorante in the Napa Valley, as well as several Kauai and Oahu resorts. When I began, I knew very little about fine cuisine, but there’s nothing like working in a good restaurant to get a crash course in world-class foods, wines, ingredients, and tools. Tasty classrooms!
While working in advertising and marketing in the Napa Valley, I became a member of several wine organizations: the Academy of Wine Communications, Women for WineSense, The American Institute of Wine and Food, and the Wine Market Council. These affiliations deepened my knowledge of the world’s wines and, by extension, the foods that pair well with them.
I joined Schramsberg Vineyards, wearing multiple hats (advertising, design, marketing, public relations), and worked with James Beard Foundation chefs from all over the US, creating winemaker dinners for the Davies family. After that, I represented Mumm Napa Valley, Champagne Mumm, and Perrier Jouet, and organized Napa Valley Wine Auction dinners, as well as gala events for those clients. Several years later, I began working with Emeril Lagasse (“BAM!”), writing articles and creating recipes for his website. He was a ton of fun to work for, and unfailingly polite and creative.
Following that, I was staff writer and editor for vineSwinger.com, a website featuring all things wine, cheese, and chocolate…from a young, hip, perspective. We had some amazing wine and food tastings in evening vineyards, on shady summer decks, and around bonfires. Good times!
These days, I live near Puget Sound, in Washington state. Here, it’s the Pacific Northwest’s bounty that inspires. Apples, berries, asparagus, tomatoes, greens, winter squash, salmon, and shellfish, all grace my table, and local farmer’s markets influence my choices.
So although my life has sometimes lead me in other directions, food, wine, and writing have been constants. I think that first of all, food should deeply nourish us with enticing flavors and the types of flavors only fresh and organic ingredients can provide. But I also believe that good food is about the experience: meals shared with friends and family with visually appealing presentations, filling our senses with happy delight. That is true nourishment.
Please stop by again, and thanks so much for visiting.